FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Short Cuts To Hell 2 Finalist Interview: Michael Down - All Inclusive
By James Whittington, Saturday 4th October 2014
This year’s Short Cuts To Hell competition saw some incredibly inventive entries.
Here we speak to one of the finalists, Michael Down who is behind the surreal and disturbing short All Inclusive.
To vote for All Inclusive click here.
HC: Where did the idea for All Inclusive come from?
MD: The idea is based on a true story. My brother and I went to Tenerife on a last minute all inclusive break a couple of years ago. The hotel we were in already had a threatening atmosphere but on the second night when out at a local bar, we had our drinks spiked, were attacked on the way home and woke up to find our apartment had been cleaned out – money, passports, everything. We had to cope with the situation while dealing with the side effects of whatever we were given, we couldn’t eat or sleep and it led us to become extremely paranoid about who had done this to us. Whether it was other guests, the staff even? The film is about that descent into that nightmare. I’ve expanded the idea to feature a young couple who book a last minute getaway to so as to heighten the juxtaposition between the idyllic and the horrific, and to incorporate deeper themes such as class, war even.
HC: Did it take long to write?
MD: The idea was already there, it was just a case of expanding it, so has not been that much of an effort. I have an excellent script advisor in my brother as he went through the original experience with me!
HC: How much of the budget did you use?
MD: I spent £450 on an all inclusive holiday in Turkey over 5 days - that is all. The budget limit we were given was £666 so as much as I would have liked to have taken someone with me I couldn’t have within these restrictions. So with the exception of a small scene at the start I was on my own throughout the whole process.
HC: The film plays like a surreal, found footage piece, was this your intention?
MD: Surreal maybe, but found footage? No. The fact that I was on my own lead me to shoot a lot of footage P.O.V but it is a style I have been developing for a while - a kind of immersive filmmaking if you like. The whole feature wouldn’t be shot in that way but I do like it, it gives a certain tone and I like the covert aspect that drags the viewer into the situation. Also the fact that they are real events being filmed rather than staged only adds to the atmosphere. The feature would be a combination of staged scenes and real life footage but has no real bearing on the found footage genre per se.
HC: Did it take long to shoot and edit together?
MD: I only had 6 days in total as I had been out of the country and only found out about the competition with a week to go. A friend said “You have to enter this” and the next day I was on a plane. I took a day to write and shoot the first scene, 4 days shooting in Turkey and one day editing - the deadline was the following day so I had to cut it in my hotel room in 42 degree heat with broken air con and my composer sending me files over the Internet. I also had to compete with the fact that there was a pool and free bar outside! It was so ridiculously last minute but somehow all just came together.
HC: What was the hardest part of creating All Inclusive?
MD: Trying to convey my idea with such limitations. I decided to take a risk and effectively make it as a trailer. Luckily some of the judges could see what I was trying to do - or were at least willing to give me a chance to explain.
HC: What did it feel like seeing your work on the Horror Channel?
MD: Great, I would have obviously would have liked more time to polish it up but feel I stands up with its own unique lo-fi quality.
HC: Do you have a plan as to how to extend this idea if it wins Short Cuts To Hell 2?
MD: Indeed, that was the point of the competition! I am hoping people can see beyond what is essentially a very raw piece of filmmaking and see how the bigger picture would develop. I have big plans that could be executed even on such a small budget. Without going into too much detail I’d have a small cast and crew and flown out to a real resort, find a suitable run-down hotel, stay there and essentially live the film!
HC: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
MD: Yes I have two films in production that have a similar vibe. Monument is about an architecture student who goes to the Balkans to study brutalist monuments and ends up losing his mind. The other, Ritual is the story of a greedy, exploitative City banker who buys up property in Bulgaria and ends up on the wrong end of some Pagan shenanigans in return. They are kind of modern-day horror fables I guess. They both have that first-person immersive style and again have feature written all over them. I am also writing a feature script that is a very personal account of me and my friends’ relationships with our favourite horror films. It’s a pretty unique idea so don’t really want to reveal too much at this stage.
HC: Michael Down, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Ruth Platt, director of The Lesson
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2017
On the eve of Horror Channel's network premiere screening of The Lesson, director Ruth Platt talks about the decision to quit RADA, why her film isn't 'torture porn' and what the future holds.
The Lesson received its World Premiere at FrightFest. How did you react when it was chosen? And what was the experience like?
RP: I was really excited when I found out we'd been picked - we got a call from the team, and they were passionate about the film, and they are such a knowledgable and experienced small team, Greg, Paul, Alan and Ian, and it meant so much. Especially when the making of it had been such an arduous and difficult process! I had no idea how people would react to the film - it was su...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Shackleton director of Panic Button
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017
As social media horror feature Panic Button gets a remastered DVD and Download release, writer and producer John Shackleton reflects on the film's inspirational journey.
To start at the beginning, what was the genesis or the seed of the idea for Panic Button?
JS: The model of how to make a film actually came before the concept. I'd made a short film with a group of trainees using a bunch of self-imposed restrictions for practicalities sake, to make sure we completed and delivered within the three-week timeframe of the training scheme, who were my employers. The rules were quite simple - no more than five minutes' walk from the office (we couldn't afford a van), no dialogue (we did...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Leone director of Terrifier
Posted on Saturday 28th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event today, director Damien Leone talks about the 'Art' of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience...
Art, The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow's Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?
DL: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art's potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows' Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who's done so little, he seems to really resonate with horr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mathieu Turi director of Hostile
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his debut feature Hostile at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Mathieu Turi shares his admiration for Tarantino, describes the challenges of filming in three continents and reveals his 'magic hour'.
You were born in Cannes so you grew up with film all around? When did you know for sure you wanted to direct?
MT: I think it's always been there. As a child, I used to steal my dad's VHS camera to make mini-movies. They were basically all about my Jurassic Park toys eating my dog or invading the garden. Later, I did more elaborate short films with friends, instead of studying. Then, I remember watching Braveheart and the making of the ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.
It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?
MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.
Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?
CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.
How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?
CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?
Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.
HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?
DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Power, director of Killing Ground
Posted on Monday 25th September 2017
One of the best from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was a superior thriller, Killing Ground. This tension packed movie looked incredible on the big screen so we decided to chat to its director, Damien Power.
HC: Did Killing Ground take a long time to write and did it change as you progressed?
DP: It took eleven years from the germ of the idea to stepping onto location to start shooting. Luckily I wasn't working on it full time! Once we had a draft we were happy with, it took five years to put the financing jigsaw together. It's a long journey! The biggest change was that for a number of years it didn't really have a third act. It ended very abruptly at the moment of maximum jeopardy. Fort...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017
More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?
MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a v...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with legendary actress Barbara Crampton
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017
Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress and producer Barbara Crampton talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.
Q: Replace raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
BC: The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of See No Evil 2
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
Jen and Sylvia Soska are two of the most exciting creatives around at the moment. Their work is visceral, dynamic, exciting and above all bloody entertaining. We've chatted to these multi-talented Canadians about their work to date in the build up to the UK TV premiere of See No Evil 2 this Friday on Horror.
HC: It's been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?
SS: It has been a while, but it's really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror gameshow from Matador, GSN, and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like Saw: The Gameshow!. We had a blast making it. I really can't even believe that was a job a person could have. We're st...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with 'Life' star Rebecca Ferguson
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Previously starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Girl on the Train, Ferguson steps out as the lead, standing firmly in front of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the Horror/Sci-Fi spectacle Life, which opens in cinemas across the UK this Friday.
Starring as Dr. Miranda North, Ferguson plays the last astronaut on-board an International Space Station which has recently caught a space probe containing the first sign of extra-terrestrial life. Studying the life form quickly turns from fascinating to a complete catastrophe, as the organism rapidly grows strength and intelligence - with the desperation to prey upon those within its reach.
We spoke with Fergus...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 19th December
Sunday 24th December
Monday 18th December